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Monday, December 26, 2011

Wall stencil photos (finally)

While at my parents' home for the holidays I used my mother's camera to upload the contents of my memory card, allowing me to finally post these pictures taken of the wall stenciling project I did in October before my camera broke.

Because it has actually been more than 2 months, a few things in the room have changed (I just can't help it!) mostly the only changes worth noting though are few bedding changes. I will post updated pictures soon, and thanks to an amazing Christmas/Chanukah/Solstice gift, the pictures may be much better quality (I got a DSLR!!!)

I had intended for a subtle ombre effect by adding a bit of white to the paint progressively as I worked up the wall. But I think it may have been a little too subtle. You can see the effect fairly well in the last picture, plus you can see the beautiful capiz shell mobile/chime that was a gift from my cousin last year. :)

There you have it, finally. Happy holidays, everyone!

Little TV

My apartment is going back in time. We are leaving our days of having a giant flatscreen HDTV behind and switching down for this old 20" CRT. (This change came from the moving out of the roommate who owned the flatscreen.) Perhaps I should feel sad to downgrade, but I couldn't be happier. Having a smaller TV on a smaller stand to me makes the whole room seem so much bigger. Plus, none of us watch much TV anyway. This goes hand in hand with our recent decision to reduce to basic cable to save lots of money on a service we hardly use anyway.

The TV stand looks so cheery in it's new bright sky blue paint. I picked that table up at a thrift store for $9. The TV was free. And, I have a pretty dorky project in the works- A TV Cozy! More on that soon. For now, check out how different this corner of the room looks, below.

Sadly I couldn't take a picture right before we took out the TV (my camera was broken!) so this picture has some outdated decor in it, but is the only one I could find. The second picture has our up to date decor, but doesn't quite show the TV area.

And now:

and yes, I was watching The Blues Brothers on VHS when I took this.

I know most people would prefer a big flat sceen TV. But for me, a TV that takes up less space and makes less of a statement is better. Our living room feels bigger than before, and easily lends itself to conversation and socializing more than just watching television.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holdiay baking

This year I revisited several favorite recipes I have posted here in the past. There are still many occasions for dinner parties or hosting guests, so if you're looking for a little something to bring your host, or some appetizers or desserts for your own event, maybe you'll be inspired by the favorites I made this year!

1. Perfect for an unusual appetizer (served with crackers), or a host gift... Bacon jam

2. Perfect divided into small cellophane bags as gifts for friends, or served with wine and cheese...Spiced mixed nuts

3. Perfect for the dessert table, or made in smaller loafs as gifts...Chocolate chip pumpkin bread

And, with New Years still coming up, I have big plans. I am hoping to make my own crackers for our cheese plate, and make fondue and signature drink for the evening. You'll be hearing from me soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


*So I still don't have a working camera, hence never posted those reveal pictures mentioned last month...I'm hoping to borrow a camera over Christmas. I'm sure you've all forgotten by now anyway!

I made a joke to a friend the other day, after becoming obsessively involved with making a spreadsheet to use for household costs, utilities and rent payments for myself and my roommates, that maybe spreadsheets should be my new hobby. I even joked that perhaps I should start a blog about them.

Well, I didn't go quite that far (though I wonder if the url AdventuresInSpreadsheeting is taken? Things To Do While Making a Spreadsheet?)  I did decide though that my beloved, and can I say it, beautiful, work of spreadsheet-ness was worth at least a quick post. I mean, just look:

Pretty colors, right? And it's got all the functions 5 flatmates could need. It's based on the spreadsheet created by my soon to depart roommate, but I gave it an updated format, and included important contact info, more room to write the details of your purchases, and some nice colors. It was a great excuse to finally learn all the excel formulas and how to make them work. 

Now I want to make spreadsheets for other things, too.

In case you're wondering, the function of this spreadsheet is to allow roommates who pay a house bill (such as the electric bill) or buy something for the house (such as TP) to be evenly and easily reimbursed. Since our landlord doesn't care the amount of each of our checks, so long as it adds up to the total rent, we deduct money owed to each other and adjust the amount of each person's rent check. This way we don't have to pay the rent and then pay each of the roommates who bought something one fifth of what they paid (yes, there are 5 of us.) The spreadsheet also allows any roommate to transfer money to one other roommate for purchases instead of splitting a cost across all 5 roommates if desired. This also is an original function of the spreadsheet this was replacing. It comes in handy if your roommate buys you a few groceries while they're at the store, and you don't have any cash on you. We use it on Google Docs so that each roommate and access and update it from their own computers, or from wherever they are able to get online.

If you live with roommates, and would like to give this template I created a shot, or just if you are are curious, you can view it here. I've wiped out the personal information such as our rent rate and address, so this is just blank to let you get a sense of how it works. If you live with multiple roommates and wish to use my spreadsheet, just email me and I will email you a blank template you can start with. I will even adjust it to work for 3, 4, or 5 roommates if you wish!


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